English Premier League week 1 is in the books and already the Manchester teams have laid down a marker for the new season. Meanwhile, North London’s sides of Tottenham and Arsenal had wins as Liverpool and Chelsea struggled on Saturday.
English Premier League week 1 left us with plenty of talking points as clubs now shift their focus to week 2. So, what did we learn from the league’s opening weekend? Read on…
1. Romelu Lukaku makes United title contenders
Everyone expected Manchester United to be around the top of the league this season, but until Sunday’s 4-0 win over West Ham, there were still questions around Jose Mourinho’s team. Despite West Ham being awful, Romelu Lukaku showed exactly why the club shelled out £76 million for the Belgian. Lukaku was a beast as he scored twice and helped open up the Hammers’ defence for his teammates. If he can stay fit and in-form, Manchester United will be difficult to beat all season.
2. Tottenham still need to buy players
Tottenham haven’t bought a new player all season, however, it didn’t show in the team’s 2-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday. It may have taken an hour to breakdown Rafa Benitez’s team, but Spurs got there in the end thanks to a two assist performance from Christian Eriksen. A lack of new quality players could come back to haunt the club this season if it drops from the top four.
It seems Tottenham have been stubborn in their transfer approach this summer. Whether that is down to the new stadium being built or the belief they have enough talent already, Tottenham have only sold players. Looking over the team put out by Mauricio Pochettino, it is easy to see good players in the starting XI. But scratch the surface, and the team look thin. Spurs will get a much bigger test in English Premier League week 2 when they host Chelsea.
3. Wayne Rooney is back
Okay, it is a little early to say Wayne Rooney is back to his best form, but he showed more in Everton’s 1-0 win over Stoke than in his last few season at Old Trafford. Rooney’s movement was very good and he ran into space with a power that had been lacking over the last few years. His goal from a header was a bit uncharacteristic, but it shows that Rooney has the fire inside him once more. The Everton striker now has six goals in 13 career matches versus Stoke.
4. Liverpool have found Coutinho’s replacement
Liverpool’s 3-3 draw against Watford was a great example of the club in recent years: poor defending, bad goalkeeping and great attacking football that should have scored more goals. Let it be said that Watford will be a difficult team for anyone to beat now that the club is under the leadership of the highly rated Marco Silva, but the Reds should have taken all three points. I
t looks as though Liverpool have found Philippe Coutinho’s replacement, and that is Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian winger was all over the pitch and had numerous chances to add to the score sheet. His pace and ability to get up and down the pitch offers something completely different to Coutinho. It is also something Watford had plenty of trouble stopping. Watford only got back into the game when Jurgen Klopp removed Salah from the fixture in the 86th minute. Liverpool’s murderer’s row forward line looked great against Watford, and if kept healthy, it will only get better.
5. Manchester City are going to get better
Manchester City defeated Brighton 2-0, despite looking a bit shaky against the English Premier League week 1 newcomers. It took 70 minutes for Pep Guardiola’s side to finally breakdown Brighton until Sergio Aguero got the opener.
Manchester City didn’t record their first clean sheet until week 5 last season, so for the defence to shutout Brighton is a big deal. Kyle Walker looked at home as a right wing-back, while Danilo held down the left side. Guardiola’s two striker deployment of Gabriel Jesus and Aguero was positive and it was a throwback to years past. Perhaps the only upgrade Manchester City could use is in the centre of the pitch where defensive midfielder Fernandinho roamed on during the weekend.
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